Friday, March 18, 2011

A Writing Practice Soundtrack

I'm always curious about how other people do it. How they write, that is. How consistent they are, how many journals they go through, how they find inspiration and the atmosphere they crave. I'm not saying I want to find a formula for the best writing conditions, but I am curious as to whether there's a correlation between tone in writing and the way we write.

For this reason, I'll be spending all of my writing time (this is free-writing, not revision time) with a soundtrack. I've asked for recommendations, and here's what I have so far:

Anya Marina
Bill Evans
Bon Jovi
Black Veil Brides
Cut Copy
Decemberists(Recommended by a few people)
Dexter Gordon
Goodie Mob
Ingrid Michaelson
Iron and Wine
J.J. Johnson
Josh Ritter
Kings of Convenience
Lady Gaga
Miles Davis
Motley Crue
My Chemical Romance 
Steve Reich
The Clash
The Cure
The Smiths
Twelve Girls Band
Two Steps from Hell

Eclectic mix, no? 

I'm going to try all instrumental, then rock, jazzy stuff, rap and so on. I hope to write a new story each go-round, and to add to my vague experiment, I'll keep my pieces separatate, just to see if any discernible pattern emerges. I think I'll keep my novel to silence, unless I become enamored by a certain tune--the way it mixes with the process of writing. 

I'm sure this is a highly subjective thing, but I feel that writing and me... well, we've been going out for some time now, and we need to mix things up. 

Let me know what you listen to... I'm curious.


  1. I wrote my third novel entirely on Gregorian Chants, 13th -14th Century Orthodox to be specific. The novel has the Roman Catholic Church as a supporting theme; the music kept my thoughts focused. Needless to say, I was 'enchanted'.

  2. I can't do much in life without music. The silence of the house bothers me too much. The silence outside? Not silent. LOVE that.

    But as for writing, gotta have the tunes going. I usually turn the XM radio to Octane and let it jam, but will dive to change the station when they play something I don't like.

  3. Yes, Susan! The sounds of nature trump all, don't they. I love writing outside. I actually started going the park for writing practice at least one a week.

  4. I write to music mostly to drown out the sounds of my kids and husband. I have a really weird mix - everything from opera to jazz to new age to heavy metal to soft pop. I pick something that sets the mood I want and start writing. I'm not even aware of the music once I'm into the story.

  5. I can see that, Jaleta. Maybe just to use it as a catalyst... after all, I think most writers, if we're lucky, get in the zone soon after a short time.

  6. This is interesting, I never knew that so many writers write while listening to music. Music is very important to me generally, and whenever I have spare time I'm always listening to music, but I never listen to music when I write, for me personally, I think it would be too distracting. I prefer silence when I write. I'll be interested to hear how this little experiment of yours works out, Jen :)

  7. I have this before I write about serial killing It really puts me in the mood.

  8. Within Temptation :)

    On a side note, your blog was nominated (second down):

    Have a good day!


  9. Very interesting, Jen. I wrote in a LOUD and bustling newsroom for 18 years with no problems, but I CAN'T write my books with music playing. I always have to turn it off because music draws me in and away from my writing thoughts.

  10. How interesting. I am finding that it's different depending on what I'm writing, so far...

  11. Top three of 2011 thus far: Gayngs! Yeasayer! CUT COPY!

  12. I like these additions - Thanks.

  13. I find that the best music to write to is something that's very familiar to me. Often it's classical, but I can also listen to CDs I've had for 15 years and played over and over. That way they provide background but are so familiar to me that they don't intrude or distract. They can also remind me of different times and places, which is sometimes useful. One band to add to your soundtrack? Try Lifecycle (mostly instrumental).

  14. I listen to Joy Division. Ceremony is my favorite song to write builds momentum and yet leads you to focus, which I find is difficult to do while listening to music and writing.


Observations: Dublin Vacation

Dublin seemed the obvious destination. We would be close to various restaurants and tourist attractions. It would be easy to call a cab or...